I tried Freedom once, why bother trying again

Joel
Joel

October 26th, 2000, 8:30 pm #1

Some past participants have shown a certain reluctance to return to Freedom after relapsing back to smoking. Many are embarrassed to come back admitting failure. Others feel they tried Freedom once, and, since they went back to smoking, its techniques must not have worked for them, so why bother trying the same approach again? Still others feel it is an inconvenience and an unnecessary commitment of time and effort considering they "heard it all before."

The concept of returning after a relapse may seem embarrassing at first, but, the ex-smoker will probably see quickly he is not alone. Many people have had past quits prior to joining Freedom and understand the fragility of a quit. They will generally understand and accept the presence of repeaters enthusiastically. Relapsers offer a strong confirmation of the concept of addiction to our old members and to all new participants. They often openly share their past experience of how, after initially quitting, they came to a point of complacency which allowed the relapse to occur. They generally reflect back at their non-smoking period as a time where they felt emotionally and physically better, and then openly express the disgust and misery that the relapse brought on. Not only did it cause embarrassment, physical discomfort, and maybe even serious health complications, but also, it was putting them through quitting all over again. Their insights offer a valuable lesson to first time participants not to make the one tragic mistake that could lead them back to smoking and the need for quitting over again--taking a puff on a cigarette.

As far as it being an inconvenience, while reading and posting may take a chunk of time out of a smokers life the first few days, in all probability, there is nothing a smoker has to do the week that he or she is stopping that is as important as quitting smoking. Failure to touch base daily with us because of conflicts of time with social or even professional commitments makes about as much sense as a cancer patient skipping life saving chemotherapy treatments for the same events. Missing an entire day because of prior time commitments may jeopardize the quitting process or the long-term maintenance of smoking cessation. This may cost the person his or her life. In the long run, it will probably be viewed as an error in judgment by the patient as well as any significant others who recognize what was put at risk and what was lost in the process.

For those who feel that Freedom didn't work, the fact is that the techniques taught here didn't fail, the smoker's implementation did. Only one recurrent theme runs through Freedom: if you don't wish to go back to smoking--NEVER TAKE ANOTHER PUFF! No one ever went back to smoking without disregarding that rule. Relapsing is an automatic admission that the smoker disregarded the basic principal taught at Freedom.

As far as feeling that "I've heard it all before," being a relapser is evidence enough that the smoker did not hear it or comprehend it all before, or is the type of person who needs to hear it over and over again in order to keep believing it. Repeaters are people who have trouble initially accepting or keeping the concept of addiction alive. This trait is in all probability the reason why the ex-smoker originally relapsed, or maybe didn't stop at all the first time. He or she reached a point of complacency where it was believed that smoking could be controlled at an acceptable level. Smoking is an all or nothing proposition. The repeater must recognize the reason for the past failure and learn from the experience. Otherwise, he or she will be doomed to repeat it over and over again.

If you have gone back to smoking, come in and try again. Once you quit smoking, do everything in your power to stay off. Come in for continued reinforcement and witness the mistakes of other past participants who got complacent. As far as addiction goes, it is much better to learn from others' mistakes than having to attend later due to your own. You just don't know whether you will ever have the strength, desire, or opportunity to quit the next time. In today's society, failing to stay off smoking carries long-term risks which include loss of social status, and respect of others; financial implications which range from supporting an addiction costing hundreds to thusands of dollars per year as well as possibly costing your job and career; and, most significantly, eventual loss of health, and possibly loss of life. Considering all of this, the choice to quit smoking and to stay off is an important one. To keep the ability to stay off smoking you need to always remember to NEVER TAKE ANOTHER PUFF!

© Joel Spitzer, 2000
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JudynVA
JudynVA

October 26th, 2000, 9:18 pm #2

Good morning ... How true this post is!! I was one of those smokers who joined Freedom over a year ago. I kept in touch for awhile but then got this "I dont need them anymore" attitude and quit posting. Soon I found myself in a tempting situation and without the reinforcements, I caved in to the temptation. It took a lot for me to post on here again. No one wants to admit failure, but I also knew there was an honest caring on this board and it worked for me once, it will work for me again. I even tried to play along at first chewing the nicotine gum but telling everyone I quit. Some honesty on my part huh??? I was only kidding myself and it was ME that I was being dishonest with. Sure enough within a few days i ws back to smoking full time. I stuck around and the more I read the more I realized that going COLD TURKEY was the ONLY way to go. I finally went for it and after 5 days I do get thoughts of smoking again, but the tempation is so different. This time I have NO NICOTINE in my system and I have this thought go off into my head...you havent been nictine free in 31 years..why would you want to reintroduce that back into your system and go through this week again??? I feel like I have made the BIGGEST accomplishment of my life. See, I had to do this one all by myself. No one could help me on it. It was ME taking the control to quit or eventually let some health issue decide it for me. One thing about this board is it doesnt matter if you were a "previous" member, just swollow your pride, start posting and you will soon find out that these are genuine people who care, who understand what you are going through and who will fight with all their might to keep you on the right track. They welcomed me back even after all I did. Their main objective here is to get you off the nicotine and KEEP you off. Thank you Freedom for welcoming me back!! Judy Five days, 14 hours, 46 minutes and 56 seconds. 196 cigarettes not smoked, saving $29.48. Life saved: 16 hours, 20 minutes.
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John (Gold)
John (Gold)

October 26th, 2000, 11:02 pm #3

Coming Home

I thought that quitting was making my problems worse and that one big nicotine fix would make them all seem better. Just one! I lied to me! I was wrong. I lied to me! Look at me! I lied to me! Now I pay the price. My addiction has arisen and again rules this life. What makes me think that the next quit would be any different. But it would, I know it would!

How can I go back to Freedom now? If I post again I'll have to provide an explanation or excuse for my relapse. I've seen it before. I know what they'll do when I post. They'll hammer my excuse and tell me that my excuse was nonsense and that smoking fixed nothing! Do I need to make an excuse or to try and explain why smoking seemed the right thing to do at the time?

I understand why the have to be so hard on relapse but with me it should be different. I realize that if everyone starts giving me warm fuzzy hugs, makes me feel wonderful and turns my return into a comfortable pity-party, that it could make others feel that relapse isn't so bad after all. It could lead other members to think that warmth, comfort and understanding awaits them, should they decided to follow in my stupid footsteps. They know that the junkie mind is looking for any legitimate excuse to light-up. They don't give an inch!! I understand why they're so firm but they should make it easier for me to get back involved and give myself another opportunity.

I'm already embarrassed enough. I've learned my lesson. I know that just one nicotine fix revives millions of dormant smoking memories. I worked hard to defeat my triggers and calm my addiction. I do know how to destroy it. But why won't they let me state my excuse without hammering me? Why?? Could it be that they truly think that NO justification is valid? Could it be that if they don't attack my excuse that they feel other members may be left with the impression that there are a few legitimate reasons for relapse?

It makes sense. If there is no rational or honest reason for reviving my addiction then they can't allow mine to stand without destroying it. What would that lead others to believe? But if they're not going to "hug me" and if they are not going to "buy" into my story, how do I come home? These folks are serious, they know what they're doing and I want the knowledge, understanding and love of Freedom's Family in my corner when I go into battle. But if no understanding hugs, no junkie excuses and me already embarrassed, then how?

What if I don't give an excuse? What if I just admit that I'm a nicotine addict, that I failed myself and that I'm home and more determined than ever! It's the truth! I know they care about me. I think the truth will work. Yes, they like the truth there! I'm back!!!!! I'm home !!!
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Joel
Joel

October 27th, 2000, 8:51 am #4

I saw Eagle's post addressed this string but it was pretty far down and I wanted to make sure everyone saw it, as well as Zep's creative response.
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L A
L A

October 27th, 2000, 10:50 am #5

You got the right stuff Zep!
I hope Eagle keep's on sluggin'
After all kickin' NicoButt is what we do best around here!


This is NicoWimp, I've kicked his hairy butt!
Can You?
I have been Kicking The **** Out Of Nicodemon for: 3 Weeks 2 Days 21 Hours 54 Minutes 5 Seconds. I have NOT smoked 1315, for a savings of $144.67. Life Saved: 4 Days 13 Hours 35 Minutes.
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Christiana
Christiana

October 27th, 2000, 11:15 am #6

This is a very interesting post! like so many of the post here at Freedom. I don't know where i first heard the expression, " the truth will do " and it was usually prefaced with "why do people lie, when the truth will do." As a lifer, struggling with addiction in one way or another i noticed the truth is something that often evades me. Even in situations where the truth is perfectly ok, i find myself struggling to tell a story, or an event. And now today, realizing how many lies, i had accepted to continue in rationalizing my use of nicotine, i am amazed i am able to recognize the truth of anythng at all. After even more thought, regarding truth and addiction, addiction is one area of my life where lies, and rationalization are so convienceing as to appear truthful or justified. That the only thing left to conclude is to realize every thought about smoking and quiting needs serious re thinking, to get to the truth . Just when i consider our list of lies regarding nicotine, it amazes me. Some one posted earlier in one of the other threads that this whole experience of quitting smoking has them looking at other area's in their life. All things considered, i think this is a good thing, to do. And i think after the phrase Never Take another puff!! , the phrase , the truth will do, will also serve me well in keeping this quit. Sorry to be so long winded, and i know i probably didn't even make myself clear. These concepts are hard to explain at times, and that's the truth!!! Christiana One month, five days, 13 hours, 26 minutes and 20 seconds. 1066 cigarettes not smoked, saving $160.02. Life saved: 3 days, 16 hours, 50 minutes.
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Joel
Joel

October 27th, 2000, 8:07 pm #7

Hello Christiana:

Lying to oneself is one of the ways an addicted individual protects the nicotine addiction, or any other addiction for that fact. Even while using a substance, common sense makes it clear quitting is essential. The only way to overcome common sense it to deny all logic and reason. Once you clear the drug out of your system, you do have the ability to use these tools, logic and reason to stay quit though without the undue influence of an active addictive substance controlling your thoughts.

Sure every now and then junkie types of thinking creeps into consciousness. But it doesn't have the physiological grip supporting and enhancing its call and almost total control of your mind. With a little thought and focus now you can squelch the desire and be free of nicotine thoughts for hours, days, and eventually weeks, months and years. When you were a smoker, the best you could hope for was minutes without nicotine calling the shots.

I just brought up a string I put up months ago, "to smoke or not to smoke." In the string is a correspondance between Iris and me and talks about thinking clearer as an ex-smoker. Kind of touches on some of this concept too.

Hang in there Christiana. Talk to you again soon.

Joel
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paulrk
paulrk

October 30th, 2000, 3:53 am #8

Why try again? Well I can think of one, very basic reason...tobacco will kill you.
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Jitterbug
Jitterbug

October 31st, 2000, 9:11 pm #9

Thanks for this post. I remember when I first tried quitting I think on August 4 -- I made it through **** week, I think, then I had a part of a cigarette. After that, I did jump back on the wagon for another couple weeks, till Sept., then I smoked another part of a cigarette. Throughout this whole time, I really did try. I was embarrassed by my slips, but I knew I had a problem, and the only way I was ever going to get through was to stay at this board. I realized the quit was MY responsibility, and that destroying it was MY responsibility. I DIDN'T WANT lots of hugs and that type of stuff, I needed somebody who was going to put on their old army boots and kick me in the derriere (spelling?), and challenge me to keep up the quit. Well, I got lots of hugs, while at the same time,I also got educated as to possibilities why I quit, and how I may maintain this quit. I also got lots of support when I needed it most. I made it this far, and I know if I still need a little support, this is where I'll get it (and believe me, I still need it, but not quite as much). And I like giving whatever support I can, as well, that's as important or even more important than me receiving it. Anyhow, I owe a lot of people here a lot of thanks. Without them, I wouldn't be smokefree for One month, four weeks, 18 hours, 52 minutes and 49 seconds. 1175 cigarettes not smoked, saving $226.33. Life saved: 4 days, 1 hour, 55 minutes.
Jitterbug
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mickeymmom
mickeymmom

November 4th, 2000, 1:25 pm #10

I have tried many times over the years to quit I found freedom and was afraid to say anything. Support will help tremendously. I never knew how to get support before I do now. Try & TRy again until you succeed.
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Joel
Joel

November 4th, 2000, 7:46 pm #11

Hello Mickeymmom:

I am glad you found the support system here. I was just going to offer a slight modification to your statement of "Try try again until you succeed." My version would be, "Quitsmoking, Never take another puff and you will succeed."

You don't want to quit over and over again. Quitting once is tough enough, quitting over and over again is one withdrawal after another. Don't minimize that aspect. You want to make this quit serious as if it is a last ditch life saving effort. For everyone quitting you never know, it just may be that. When a person relapses you don't know if they will have the strength to quit again, the desire to quit again, and worst of all, the opportunity to quit again. Give this quit your all. You can quit, anyone can, but they have to give a 100% effort 100% of the time to do it. Considering the consequences of not quitting though, it is worth that kind of commitment.

Good luck Mickeymmom. If anything we can do to help, you know where to find us.

Joel
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Joel
Joel

January 14th, 2001, 12:15 am #12

I am almost nervous posting this one right now. I don't want to give the impression that if you relapse, you can just come back and quit again. Everyone should understand plain and clear that when you have a quit going, you need to do everything possible to keep it going. You never know for sure you will have the desire, strength, and most important of all, the opportunity to quit again before something life threatening and irreversible happens again from the cigarettes smoked after the relapse. Fight with everything you have, 24 hours a day, 7 days a week, 365 days a year, you have to have your guard up and be prepared, the thought will come. The moment will seem right, it can all seem so harmless, and the one second lapse in judgement can kill you. Not instantaneously of course, but slowly and surely, crippling you, costing you thousands or even tens of thousands, making you a social outcast, basically, porbably messing up more areas of your life for longer than any other single mistake you have ever or will ever make again in your life. See the cigarette for what it is, and your obvious choice, whether it be the day you quit or decades later, the only logical choice will be to never take another puff!
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Sassy1
Sassy1

January 15th, 2001, 5:58 pm #13

Hi Everyone,
I am one who quit and went back to smoking. Yes I have been afraid to post again because I feel like such a failure, but this morning I checked in and this message was right here and it seemed to be sent to me for some reason. I have to thank you for this post because it has put that I want and can quit again and I can come back and post and I don't have to be a failure!!
This message was heaven sent and it is just hard to express how it has affected me and my feeling of coming back. It is time to quit and this time I can and will do it. I've been setting dates and changing them and setting them and changing them over and over and it is time to quit that and just do it and when I read this it just put that I can do it right back in me and I want to do it!!
Thanks again!!!
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Joel
Joel

January 22nd, 2001, 9:09 pm #14

I saw today where an issue of shame was brought up in response to a relapse. When people react to a relapser this way it is often out of anger. But no one here should be angered by a persons loss of a quit, just saddened by it. For you have been where they are now at, an addicted smoker in the iron clad grip of nicotine's control. You all know darn well how for years and decades you knew you should have known better and have quit but day by day you continued on a course of self destruction that was giving the outside world a perception of you that you were not proud of or happy about. You also knew you were harming yourself and if left unchecked, it was ultimately going to cause your premature demise. We should not be angered by witnessing this in anyone else, just saddened by such a senseless tragedy.

On the same front, the person who has relapsed does often have many powerful and profound feelings. While shame or embarrassment me be some of them, they should not the ones of most concern. The feelings that are of real significance are disappointment be fear. Disappointment that they had lost their quit, and fear that they may not get another one. They may not have the strength again, the desire again and worst of all, the opportunity again to quit before something tragic happens, possibly the sudden loss of life. These are legitimate fears, not irrational or phobic reactions. Considering over 400,000 Americans alone, and millions of people world wide lose their life annually to nicotine addiction, fear is a legitimate feeling that should always be on a smokers mind for when it is not the person is in a state of denial of the path there life is on.

While ex-smokers may witness the loss of another's quit with sadness and maybe even pity, they should also recognize it as a real risk that they themselves can face if they ever get complacent and lose their initial motivation and understanding of the addiction. The ex-smoker should feel great gratitude to him or herself from having worked hard to escape the same fate of a relapsed smoker. They should reinforce the sense of pride and joy they initially felt when quitting, for days, weeks, months and years later. They should thank themselves daily for caring enough about themselves to not let themselves get trapped in this deadly practice again. To stay free from the dangers and the fears that the next puff may be the one that starts some irreversible process, always stay focused on the fact to stay in permanent control you can never take another puff!

Joel
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Joel
Joel

March 9th, 2001, 10:32 pm #15

For Steven. Welcome home.
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John (Gold)
John (Gold)

March 31st, 2001, 10:29 pm #16


Withdrawal is temporary.
Relapse can last a lifetime (a short one) !
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Joel
Joel

April 16th, 2001, 7:55 pm #17

For Deb:

I know from your post you already know all of this but figured it wouldn't hurt to say it again anyway, for you and everyone else too. I'll bring up the other post you addressed of "Come share your strength, come recognize your vulnerabilities."

I want to make it real clear that everyone should do everything they can to make the quit they are on now stick, not relapse with the idea that they will "just" quit again. You never know that you will have the strength, desire or worst of all, the opportunity to quit again before something medical goes wrong, or even sudden death. Taking a drag is basically a game of Russian Roulette, with a very loaded gun.

It is a lot easier to reinforce staying off than it is to quit again. Months or even years into a quit, giving a few minutes each week can save you from having to ever go through quitting again or going through smoking again. The way to avoid either scenerio is to stay focused on the fact that you want to stay smoke free. One of the ways to do that is drop in occasionally, read a few posts, maybe even write a post letting us know how you are doing and comparing it to what it is like for people here off just one or two days. Better than that, write a post of what it is like now for you compared to when you were off for one or two days, or even what it was like for you when you were a chain smoker. Formulating that concept will help you remember how far you have come and more important, how far back you don't want to go. To avoid ever having to go back to smoking or to quitting always remember to never take another puff!

Joel
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S Sweet
S Sweet

May 12th, 2001, 1:09 am #18

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Joel
Joel

May 29th, 2001, 9:22 pm #19

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Cas (green)
Cas (green)

June 19th, 2001, 12:20 pm #20

I don't know how I missed this right after I quit again on the 28th of May, but I am sure glad to see it now.
I had quit for 2 months when I smoked a pack of ciggies and felt totally ashamed of myself. There was no reason for smoking, just excuses. I am stressed, I am bored, I am tired, I am hungry, I had them all. Now I am back with a new quit of 3 weeks and about 6 hours. I ONLY smoked 1 pack but that was enough to throw me back to day one. I was determined the second time that I would make it, and so far so good. One thing I know for sure---I will watch my attitude more carefully this time and guard against all those little hints from the nicodemon. I do not WANT to smoke, so I won't ever do it again, as long as I resist the demon. I WILL NEVER TAKE ANOTHER PUFF!!!!!!!!!!!!
YQS,
Cheryl
I have chosen not to smoke for 3 Weeks 6 Hours 20 Minutes 20 Seconds. Cigarettes not smoked: 212. Money saved: $25.73.
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Mari (GOLD)
Mari (GOLD)

June 19th, 2001, 12:51 pm #21

For Weedhopper. This is the place for healing, hope, and help. We do not ****, blame, shame, or judge the quit any member has now by the failure of any past quits. No matter how long each of us has been quit, we are all the same. The stories of how we started smoking are different. The reasons we smoked are different. The reasons for quitting are different. But, the reasons why we are all here are the same. We know we are addicts. We know we want to be free from the grasp of nicotine. We know we want better health and comfort. The ground we stand on as addicts is level. We are a support group. It doesn't matter whether we've been quit for two hours or two years; this one thing we do know~~~We are all one puff away from disaster and relapse. If you withhold your welcome to a member, new or returning, you withhold your support. If you refuse to offer your support why are you here?
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Joel
Joel

July 23rd, 2001, 7:53 pm #22

Again, any relapsed member who is in a lurking mode, when you are ready to quit get back here, read and read away the first few days and reapply once getting the three days down. You can do it. You did it before. It is a matter of doing only one thing different this time that will guarantee future success. It is a matter of remembering once you quit that you can never take another puff!

Joel
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mirigirl (silver)
mirigirl (silver)

July 23rd, 2001, 8:28 pm #23

Thanks for this Joel
yqs Maz
NEVER TAKE ANOTHER PUFF!!
Six months, two days, 22 hours, 35 minutes and 46 seconds of FREEDOM!!
4598 cigarettes not smoked, saving $1,471.86. Life saved: 2 weeks, 1 day, 23 hours, 10 minutes.
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Joanne Gold
Joanne Gold

August 25th, 2001, 7:37 pm #24

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Joel
Joel

August 25th, 2001, 7:37 pm #25

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